Wednesday, February 16, 2005

mountains or beaches?

Here’s a list of the 8 largest metropolitan areas in the USA: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco-Oakland, Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit.Here are the 8 largest in Mexico: Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Tijuana, Leon, Juarez, Toluca.It’s interesting that of the 8 largest metro areas in the US, all can be considered coastal or port cities. Of the Mexican cities, on the other hand, only Tijuana could be considered a coastal or port city.

In fact, the next city on the list that would fit this category is Tampico, which has the 16th largest population in Mexico. So why are urban population patterns so different in the two countries? Does Mexico suffer economically from this trend?

The first thoughts that come to my mind are that the Aztecs and their capital city Tenochtitlan were in the highlands which drew the Spanish almost immediately away from the coast. Also, Mexico’s gold and silver deposits are/were in the mountains as well and many cities grew around the mining industry. And, at least in my opinion, the Mexican coast is just too freakin’ hot for any sane person to consider living there permanently (though short visits can be quite nice).

Anyway, those are my knee-jerk explanations for this interesting demographic difference – let me know if you’ve got one of your own.

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